Everything you need to know about Liquid Seaweed Fertilizer
Seaweed has long been used to help plant growth, especially before the advent of commercial fertilizer production. It provides many benefits to plants above and beyond conventional fertilizers to promote stronger, healthier plants. When plants are stronger and healthier they are better able to withstand environmental stresses such as drought, salinity, insect pests, and diseases. Without a doubt, it’s a product that most gardeners should incorporate into their repertoire.
What is liquid seaweed fertilizer
Liquid seaweed fertilizer is simply what its name suggests: a fertilizer that has been derived from natural seaweed sources. Seaweed is collected, some of the saltwater rinsed away and then allowed to decompose or ferment in water until the plant material is broken down into a liquid or slurry.
Seaweeds – especially kelp, a large brown seaweed – and liquid seaweed extract have been used for many years as fertilizers in commercial crop production because of their positive effect on plant growth and yield. As the trend towards using sustainable products increases, these products are gaining more popularity both commercially and in home gardens to meet plant demands. Known as biofertilizers, or biostimulants, they offer many benefits over conventional fertilizers.
In 1997 (1), the term biostimulant was defined in agriculture, designating biostimulants as “materials, other than fertilizers that promote plant growth when applied in small quantities”. So, biostimulants are natural products, besides fertilizers that help plants grow better.
Since that time there has been an increased awareness of the impacts fertilizers have on the environment and the intent to use sustainable practices. This means people are opting to implement responsible interactions with the environment to avoid the degradation or depletion of natural resources to aid in long-term environmental quality. Because of this, there is an increasing demand for biostimulants as sustainable solutions in agriculture and even gardening.
There are a handful of different classifications of biostimulants; seaweed and kelp products are classified as such because they “contain substance(s) and/or microorganisms whose function when applied to plants or the rhizosphere is to stimulate natural processes to enhance/benefit nutrient uptake, nutrient efficiency, tolerance to abiotic stress, and crop quality”(2).
Seaweed products are different than traditional fertilizers in a couple of critical ways.
- First off, their production methods have environmental benefits over conventional fertilizers.
- Secondly, while they contain nutrients, although it may be in lesser amounts, they also garner many benefits that aren’t seen with the application of conventional fertilizers.
Specifically, their benefits are seen in the following aspects:
Sustainability: Seaweed is a renewable resource, that can be easily harvested. This means there are no associated environmentally damaging harvest methods. Seaweed can be sustainably harvested from many oceanic locations. The manufacturing of liquid seaweed fertilizer entails fermentation, without the need for additional chemicals or other processes. This means no dangerous chemicals to dispose of or greenhouse gases emitted during manufacturing.
Organic classification: As a completely natural product with no additional, synthetically-created components seaweeds fertilizers are certified as organic fertilizers. To meet this certification, and qualify to be on the OMRI list, products must meet strict regulations for organic products and processing.
Reduced leaching: Leaching is when nutrients are pushed down through the soil out of the root zone where plants can access them; it happens via water from irrigation or rainfall and is a major problem when growing plants. Beneficial microorganisms found in seaweed fertilizers exude “sticky” substances that bind available nutrients to soil particles in the root zone. This keeps nutrients attached to the soil particles instead of leaching into the deeper soil layers where they are unavailable for plant uptake.
More efficient nutrient uptake: Due to the manufacturing process all of the nutrients found in seaweed or kelp products are in forms that can quickly be absorbed by plants. This isn’t the case with other fertilizers. Some fertilizers can also only be applied via soil applications. Liquid seaweed fertilizers can be applied through a foliar application, increasing the efficiency of nutrient uptake.
Strengthened plant defenses: Any time a plant is exposed to something that stresses it, whether it be lack of water, huge temperature variations, or problems with insects or diseases, the overall plant health is affected. In turn, the plant is more susceptible to other problems – similar to when your body is overtired making you more susceptible to injury or sickness. Seaweed fertilizers help in numerous ways to strengthen plant defenses, making them healthier and more vigorous. Kind of like boosting their immune system.
Improved soil conditions: Seaweed contains alginate, a structural part of cell walls that gives seaweed flexibility, allowing it to withstand tidal forces. When alginic acid is applied to soils it acts as a soil conditioner, helping to improve the soil. Salts from the alginic acid combine with metal molecules in the soil to form bigger, heavier molecules. These molecules then attach to soil particles, binding them together to improve the soil structure. This results in better water and air movement through the soil.
Overall liquid seaweed fertilizers increase both the plant and soil health to create a more advantageous way to grow plants. Due to these added benefits not only does the plant receive the nutrients it needs, but plant defenses against pests and diseases are naturally increased, and the soil is improved.
Components of liquid seaweed fertilizer
The extra benefits observed when using a liquid kelp fertilizer arise from the makeup of the product itself. During the decomposition or fermentation of the seaweed, many natural components are released that aren’t found in regular fertilizers. These components are commonly known as plant growth regulators.
A broad spectrum of nutrients. As a marine-based product, kelp contains almost all of the elements found on the periodic table, providing plants with a full spectrum of the nutrients they need. Plants are supplied with macronutrients, micronutrients, and a variety of trace elements as well, to meet all of their nutritional needs.
The N-P-K value on seaweed products is lower than your traditional plant food, but this isn’t problematic. The nutrients found in these products are all readily available for uptake and are less prone to leaching because of the microorganisms found in seaweed fertilizers.
The potassium found in organic products helps to increase a plant’s overall hardiness to withstand drought, cold temperatures, and salinity and guard against diseases and pathogens.
- Potassium helps to regulate stomatal opening/closing under drought stress to direct respiration and transpiration rates, minimizing water loss from the leaves.
- Potassium activates the plant’s antioxidant system under cold stress to prevent damage or rupturing of the cells.
- Potassium also helps to thicken cell walls to prevent against pathogen and disease infection.
Growth hormones. Practically every process related to growth and development within plants is regulated by specialized chemical compounds called hormones. These hormones are found, and needed, in very small amounts, and differ from the hormones in humans. To differentiate between the two they are known as phytohormones.
The five hormones found in plants are auxins, cytokinins, gibberellins, abscisic acid, and ethylene. They can work together or independently of the others to influence plant growth.
Hormones that were in the cells of the kelp end up in the liquid seaweed fertilizer. When a plant is fertilized and given supplemental hormones this means they don’t have to spend energy on making them and can use the energy for other grow processes instead.
Amino acids. Amino acids play key roles both within plants and when found in the soil. Within the plant, they are used as building blocks for proteins and also play roles in primary and secondary metabolic processes. In other words, they control various aspects of plant growth and development. In the soil, they are used by microbes as a source of nitrogen and proteins to strengthen microbial colonies. Robust microbes help with nutrient uptake into the roots.
Bioactive carbohydrates. Complex polysaccharides not found in land plants are present in seaweed. Alginic acid reacts with metal ions in the soil to form large molecules that absorb water, swell in size, and improve the soil structure. Other carbohydrates, such as laminarin, signal the plant to turn on natural defense mechanisms to ward off pathogens.
Beneficial bacteria and fungi. All soils naturally contain bacteria and fungi that have symbiotic relationships with plants. Supplementing them via seaweed fertilizers helps promote plant and root growth and strengthen plant defenses. These bacteria also produce auxins, cytokinins, gibberellins, and anti-fungal metabolites to ward off fungal diseases. Beneficial fungi in the root zone help plants to use water more efficiently while also increasing disease and salinity resistance.
How to use it on your plants
Now that we’ve talked about why liquid seaweed fertilizers are so good for your plants, let’s talk about the specifics on how to use them.
To start off with, you want to look for a quality product that is the result of room temperature fermentation. When heat is used it affects the configuration of amino acids released and kills beneficial bacteria and fungi which decreases the overall biological activity of the end product.
Commercially produced liquid seaweed fertilizers are highly concentrated and must be diluted prior to you to avoid damaging your plants. The rate of dilution depends on the type of plant you are fertilizing but for most garden plants, you should dilute it in 50 times the water as product. This usually equates to 4 or 5 tablespoons per gallon of water. For indoor plants use 1 tablespoon per gallon of water.
Being a liquid product you can choose to apply it as a foliar spray to your plants in a couple of different ways. In all cases, you want to apply the liquid to the leaves until it starts to drip off.
- If you have small houseplants or herbs, mix it in a hand-held spray bottle and then mist the plants.
- You can also mix it in a watering can and then sprinkle the diluted solution over your plants.
- If you have a large planting area to cover, you can mix a larger amount of solution and then put it in a sprayer to apply.
When to use it and when to avoid using it
- Like all other fertilizers, it’s best to apply during the active growing season, regardless of if the plant resides outdoors or inside. Plants need growth to slow during the colder months; fertilizer will unnaturally break this dormancy.
- Use it to improve seed germination and early root growth by either soaking the seeds overnight in a dilute solution or spraying them just after planting.
- When repotting container plants, or planting container plants in the ground, after removing the root ball from the container spray it with liquid seaweed fertilizer to reduce the risk of transplant shock.
- There really aren’t many situations you should avoid using it, in my opinion. Liquid fish fertilizer can be known to taint the taste of tomato plants and other garden veggies, but liquid seaweed fertilizer doesn’t do that.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a coastal area, you are in luck! If you can locally collect your own seaweed you can save yourself the expense of buying a commercial seaweed fertilizer and make your own. It’s even better that the process itself is simple and doesn’t require any special, expensive equipment.
Just make sure there aren’t any local regulations in place that could get you in trouble for gathering seaweed off the beach!
- Lidded, airtight container (a bucket is perfect)
- Head down to the seashore and collect a big bunch – or small if you prefer – of seaweed and bring it home.
- Rinse it off to remove excess salt, sand/debris, and anything else that may have hitched a ride home from the beach with you.
- Place the rinsed seaweed in the container, cover it completely with water, and then firmly snap the lid on.
- Stick it out of the way and let it sit for a couple of weeks, or months if the temperature is cooler.
- To use it, dilute one part to 10 parts water and then spray on plants in a fine mist or apply with a watering can until the liquid drips off the leaves.
Because of the nature of the product, the shelf life is shorter than granular, inorganic products. To get the longest life out of your seaweed fertilizer store the concentrated product in a tightly closed container at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Under these conditions, it will stay stable for a year.Seaweed has long been used to help plant growth, especially before the advent of commercial fertilizer production. It provides many benefits to plants above and beyond conventional fertilizers to promote stronger, healthier plants. When plants are stronger and healthier they are better able to withstand environmental stresses such as drought, salinity, insect pests, and diseases. Without a doubt, it’s a product that most gardeners should incorporate into their repertoire.
Liquid Seaweed Fertilizer – Most Popular Organic Fertilizer
Plants have to deal with a lot of environmental stress.
This includes heat, cold, wind, drought and disease.
That’s where liquid seaweed fertilizer comes in.
Seaweed for plants has been used by gardeners and farmers for thousands of years.
People have collected it off the beach and put it right on their gardens as a seaweed fertilizer diy and mulch that quickly broke down, releasing dozens of minerals and vitamins and other beneficial components.
When I lived near the ocean on the west coast, I would drive to a nearby beach to do the same.
But nowadays I use liquid seaweed fertilizers instead, made from one of the most common seaweeds: kelp.
Kelp is a wonderful soil amendment, but when we don’t have it around, a seaweed liquid fertilizer still brings many of the same benefits.
And a big advantage of these liquids over the solids is that we can spray them onto plant leaves for direct leaf uptake.
When you do that, the plants get a nice shot of dozens and dozens of different minerals and vitamins.
But the main benefit of liquid seaweed is the natural plant growth regulators and hormones it contains that help plants grow faster, healthier and stronger.
And one of the main things they do is help plants deal with those environmental stressors.
Benefits Of Liquid Seaweed Fertilizer
Probably the most important of seaweed fertilizer benefits is that it’s the best when it comes to boosting plant health and helping plants deal with environmental stressors such as heat, cold, wind, drought and disease.
Like all of my organic fertilizers, it can have a big impact on boosting plant growth, but I often think of it as really excelling at promoting healthier plants.
Using seaweed as fertilizer also increases overall nutrition, including protein content (the protein content of our crops has dropped considerably since WWII).
Seaweed feed has been well studied and has become a mainstay of organic farming and gardening. T. L. Senn did a lot of research on using seaweed as a fertilizer back in the day. He eventually wrote a great little book called ‘Seaweed and Plant Growth.’
His research showed not only the kelp fertilizer benefits for plant health and growth, but also that a quality liquid seaweed can help control insect pests such as spider mites.
Who Needs This The Most?
The reason I recommend this to everyone is that it really is helpful in most gardens.
It doesn’t necessarily give the big boost in plant growth that some products give, but it does boost plant health, which helps discourage pests.
It’s just a nice piece of preventative health care to bring into the mix, and at times can be a quick cure for various ailments a plant may encounter.
That’s why organic farming consultants often recommend it be included in any spray application regardless of what else is being used.
Seaweed Fertilizer Make Your Own
How to make seaweed fertilizer: if you live near a beach with some seaweed on it, you can just take that and use it directly as a seaweed garden mulch, provided it’s legal in your area to remove it.
Be sure to leave some for the beach, though, as it has a big role to play there as food and habitat for many different species.
Or if you want to make a basic liquid seaweed fertilizer, pack the seaweed into an airtight container and fill it with water.
You don’t have to rinse off the salt first.
Let it sit for at least a couple of weeks (or more like a couple of months in cold weather).
It smells quite bad because it’s an anaerobic fermentation, but that’s okay. Adding a bit of EM into the water can cut down on that.
When you’re ready, mix it with 10 parts water and spray it directly onto your plants. It’s not as concentrated as a professionally manufactured kelp fertiliser but will still have many benefits.
If you let it sit long enough, the seaweed will probably decompose and dissolve, but if there’s any left, you can still throw it onto your garden as a mulch.
Finding A Quality Liquid Kelp Fertilizer
There are several species of seaweed that are commonly used for fertilizer.
There are debates as to which one is best, but the similarities are far more important than the differences, so when you’re looking for a seaweed garden fertilizer, my view is to not worry too much about the species.
What’s more important is that the kelp plant food is processed without heat and high pressure, so as to keep as many of the beneficial components intact.
Even some of the organic products – like the popular Maxicrop liquid seaweed – are processed in such a way that they don’t retain nearly as many of the natural growth regulators and beneficial microbes. That’s not to say products like that wouldn’t have any benefit, but they’re definitely not the same quality.
The other thing to think about is whether the manufacturer is sustainably harvesting the seaweed, because overharvesting is becoming an issue. That can be more difficult to figure out.
What I do is contact the manufacturer to ask what they’re doing to make sure their process is sustainable. If they have a good answer instead of brushing me off, that’s a good start. Then I go to the internet to see if anyone else has any more info on the company.
I would like more solid info that that, but seaweed harvesting is not an issue under public scrutiny at this point, even by environmental organizations, so I mostly have to go by word of mouth.
The liquid seaweed fertilizer I use is from Neptune’s Harvest, cold processed and organic. I did some digging and found that it’s made by Thorvin, one of the best seaweed manufacturers in the world when it comes to quality and sustainability.
In terms of quality, they dry the seaweed at low temperatures using geothermal energy in order to retain the nutrients and preserve bioavailability.
In terms of sustainability, they harvest in a geographically remote location, in very clean water, away from agricultural run-off and commercial shipping. They also rotate harvests to allow for sufficient regenerative growth.
How To Use Seaweed Fertilizer
Shake well before each use. Once you’ve mixed with water, use it the same day.
Here are their recommended application rates:
- House Plants: Use 1 tablespoon per gallon of water every 1-2 weeks.
- Outdoors: Use 2 Tbsp per gallon of water every 1-2 weeks.
- Lawns: Use 1 gallon for 8000 sq ft every month.
- Seeds: Use 1 teaspoon per cup of water for soaking seeds.
They suggest applying until the soil is saturated or as a foliar feed in the morning or evening until the leaves are wet.
That may be enough for you but it doesn’t really tell you how much to apply overall, so I’ve also dug into their agriculture recommendations to see if I could find a little more detail.
They recommend 3 gallons of product per acre, 4 times per year. That works out to about 1 quart per 1000 square feet per year, so that’s what I aim for.
In my garden, I use 1/2 cup of liquid seaweed fertilizer per 1000 square feet every month for 8 months of the year.
I suggest mixing it with at least 50 times as much water, which would be 1.5 gallons for 1/2 cup of seaweed. Or just set a hose-end sprayer to spray 5 Tbsp per gallon.
Liquid seaweed is great mixed with my other fertilizers and microbial inoculants.
When soaking seeds, you can mix in an equal amount of sea minerals fertilizer or liquid fish fertilizer. So that would be 1 teaspoon of seaweed (and perhaps 1 teaspoon of sea minerals or fish) per cup of water.
You Can Get It Here
In summary, this liquid seaweed fertilizer:
- Provides many benefits, but is especially known for improving plant health and helping plants deal with heat, cold, wind, drought and disease.
- Is manufactured sustainably, without heat and pressure, therefore providing much more benefit than other brands.
- Is organic (OMRI-Listed) and undoubtedly one of the most popular organic fertilizers available.
As a free bonus when you order today, I’ll also enroll you in my online Biostimulants course.
Just choose your container size and click ‘Add To Cart’ up above!
- I ship in the U.S. only. I ship 7 days a week.
- In the continental U.S., shipping is $10 (if your order is $99 or less) or free (if your order is $100 or more).
- All of my products have a 1 year 100% money-back guarantee.
- If you have a question about a product, leave it in the comment section below I’ll try to respond within a few hours.
- Dry fertilizers and compost tea brewers ship separately so they will arrive on their own maybe a day or 2 apart from my other products.
- With every order, I send $1 to Organics 4 Orphans and other similar organizations. O4O is working with the world’s poor to help them grow organic, highly nutritious, highly medicinal food for themselves, and then use the surplus food to generate income for themselves as well as feeding the orphans in their communities. My hope this year is to again send $1500US, which is enough to start projects in 25 new communities!
Free $25 Bonus When You Buy Today
When you buy this liquid seaweed fertilizer, you get enrolled in my online Biostimulants course.
The course includes 10 videos totaling about 75 minutes where I chat about seaweed, fish, sea minerals, molasses, rock dust, and how to use them all.
Early this morning, I sprayed my zucchini with this liquid seaweed, sprayer set at 5T per gallon. Now the leaves look damaged. The edges look spotted and slightly wilted. They looked great before. Is this common? Did I miss a directions?
Hmmm, I’ve seen some damage with the fish before – never with the seaweed. On the bottle they say to mix it 1:128, which is more like 2Tbsp per gallon of water, but on their website when I look at the application procedure in more detail, they often say 1:10, which is like 25Tbsp per gallon of water. I’ve always done 5Tbsp with no problems, although it never hurts to use more water. I’m very sorry for your troubles Elizabeth. Zucchini leaves are pretty tough – I bet they’ll recover soon.
Thanks, Phil. I am optimistic. I’ll let you know what develops. 🙂
Well what happened, Elizabeth?
The leaves developed symetrical markings which persisted, but the plants looked wonderful in posture, seemed really happy. Things went fine from there. Wish the season weren’t ending soon.
is it possible that after applying neptune 2-3-2 or 2-1-3 i do not remember that for the first two or three days the plants do not look good the flowers that were there seem dried up,the leaves also not appear too strong but a couple of days later things start looking up and eventually more than they were before it us happening now rose mums hawthorne jasmine basil are looking weak started application two or three days ago could you help thanks
It could be if you didn’t dilute it enough. Dilute at least 50 times (at least 1 gallon of water for 5 Tbsp of neptune’s harvest.
What should I use for a soil that has virtually no Nitrogen and very little Phosphorous?
Compost or composted manure is probably first. Fish meal and/or liquid fish ( https://www.smilinggardener.com/sale/liquid-fish-fertilizer/ ) may be next. Guano is good too, but can be expensive. I’d go with good compost and fish meal.
I live in Wisconsin so I can’t harvest fresh seaweed. What is the best Kelp/Seaweed you can purchase online? Thanks for any info. I know Neptune is ok but are there better options?
I’d say the best overall value is Neptune’s Harvest, which is why I’m selling it on this page. They’re using Thorvin seaweed, which is one of the best in the world.
This is hilarious. I have just moved from Victoria, BC and now live on Crete Greece. Trying desperately to find a source of orgnic liquid seaweed fertilizer. Don’t suppose you ship to Greece do you? If so, what would the cost be? The product I am looking for is to be used on organic hydroponic vegetables. I wish I had left all my clothes out of my cases and just brought gardening supplies instead!
Look forward to hearing from you.
Sorry Olwyn, I can’t ship overseas. There must be someone in Europe who can help.
Curious how often you spray your plants in particular vegetables.
I do everything monthly, which is great, although I would do weekly in very small amounts if I had the time.
Is there a high temp when it’s not good to spray the sea weed,I live in Florida.
I’ve never come across anything about this, other than that it’s best to apply in the morning when it’s not quite as hot. Plants still need nutrients when it’s hot, though. Sorry I can’t give you more specific info on temps.
I use organic wow soluble kelp powder. Is it different than liquid seaweed? Which is more beneficial liquid seaweed or powder seaweed?
It’s different but they’re both good. I use liquid because it’s ready to use and also because it’s made with fresh kelp instead of powdered kelp. But the powdered is still beneficial. I’ve never seen any research comparing the two.
Thank you for the prompt reply. I’m interested to use both and check myself which makes difference.
Could this be used on house plants? If so, what would be the proportions to dilute? Thank you – Adrienne
Absolutely. For houseplants, use 1 tablespoon per gallon of water every 1-2 weeks.
Can you use this to spray leaves that will be harvested, I.e., lettuce p, spinach, etc. does it change the flavor?
The dilution is such that I’ve never noticed a thing, and I tend to spray up until close to harvest time.
Kelp does have hormones that make it grow 2 to 3 feet a day. Transferring hormones from one plant to another plant, Does it really Work?
Maybe its not the hormone in kelp that is making your plants grow bigger? Maybe it is the vitamins and nutrients that are making plants grow bigger? I am doing an experiment on several different plants tomato, cucumber, melons, herbs and few flowers. Half plants with vitamins and half plants without vitamins, with all same soil, inoculated with mycorrhizae before placed in pots/planters. Have been feeding my plants multivitamins every time i water them (1 multivitamin per gallon of water totally dissolved). The plants that i been feeding vitamins are double the size than ones i have not fed vitamins. If there is any deficiency in my plants i’ll feed them very little fertilizer just make sure plants are as healthy as they can be for my experiment. Kelp is loaded with vitamins/nutrients. Before i become a true believer that the hormones is making plants grow bigger i would have see the results with just the hormone itself without vitamins/nutrients kelp produces.
Thanks for sharing, Mark. I think you’re right that the nutrients are part of the picture. But in many of the great books on using seaweed as a fertilizer (which you can find online from Acres U.S.A.), they really stress the hormones, not that the hormones gets “transferred” to the plants – just that they influence plant growth, which we know for sure. Perhaps it’s hormones and nutrients. Sounds like a great experiment you’re doing!
3 Qs re: fertilizing to get an Overview of how to best view & do fertilizing when using the Natural Big 4 inputs you advise. Kelp — Sea Minerals — Fish Fertilizer – Compost Tea/BioAg.
1. Do they provide everything your garden will need with respect to fertilizing (once the soil structure & minerals have been balanced)? Is there any reason to “additionally” give your plants an “all around organic based fertilizer” such as retail OMRI organic products that are labeled as General Garden Fertilizers, that have things like alfalfa, feather, fish bone? In otherwords, is it possible to ONLY use the “Big 4” and have an excellent garden without the added expense and work of additional products? (I realize these Big 4 are “food” for the microbes and not the plant directly).
2. Do these 4 products actually correct an imbalanced “soil” so if you are not sure of your soil balance — over time using these Big 4 will bring it naturally into balance?
3. I find it very useful to not just “follow” directions but to understand the “WHY”. So with that knowledge it allows me to apply wisely with intent and be able to explore when things go haywire. You have done wonderful work in this blog (& lessons) providing so much of that. If you have the time, would really like to know for each of these 4: Kelp, Sea Minerals, Fish Fertilizer, Compost Tea/BioAg – what is it that they mainly contribute and importantly can they be over applied – i.e. the benefits & their general parameters? For example, I’ve heard Fish Fertilizer is primarily for Nitrogen for green color & growth of foilage and there is no concern of it being over applied. It would help with the confusion to have a “brief” coherent overview to better understand the “parts” when gardening with natural products to use them properly and bring them all together successfully.
1. The big 4 will get you part of the way there, but not all the way. But I wouldn’t add an “all around organic based fertilizer”. If I were wanting to go further, I would soil test and then add the specific nutrients in which I was deficient. That said, there are other useful products out there. For example, if you soil test with Crop Services International, they’ll usually recommend an additional 1 or 2 microbial inoculants that they have and an additional 1 or 2 micronutrient fertilizers. There are thousands of products out there so there are bound to be other useful ones.
2. No, they won’t correct soil imbalances much at all. They just make sure your microbes and plants have a little of everything, which is helpful, but the soil imbalances will still be a limiting factor.
3. On the right side of this page (or the bottom if you’re on mobile), you can read a little explanation I wrote titled “Sea Minerals Vs Seaweed Fertilizer Vs Fish Fertilizer” where I do my best to share the differences. In the end, those 3 are quite similar, just all with slightly different make-ups, and I imagine my explanation probably isn’t enough for you. There are books from Acres U.S.A., especially ‘Fertility From The Ocean Deep’ and ‘Food Power From The Sea’ that may give you some more info. I expect they all could be overapplied but I’ve never tried 🙂 And if you go to the compost tea page, you can read (on the right side) the box titled “Compost Tea Vs SCD/EM Vs Mycorrhizal Fungi” where I make a similar comparison. You can overapply BioAg but not compost tea, although I don’t really have a good explanation as to why.
I started using the liquid seaweed fertilizer a few weeks ago on my houseplants , and now I am noticing some small mushrooms growing in their soil, and some fungus gnats! Could these be related? I haven’t changed the frequency of the watering.
Do you have any tips on this? Thanks.
Hmm, that’s surprising. I suppose it could have something to do with the seaweed but I’m not sure what. Mushrooms fruit when they’re ready to. I’d be surprised if the seaweed would stimulate fruiting but perhaps. Mushrooms aren’t generally bad, though, so probably no worries. The fungus gnats are bad, though, and again, I’d be surprised if the seaweed encouraged them, whereas I wouldn’t be surprised if seaweed actually discouraged them. I recommend you stop the seaweed for a month to see what happens, and then start again to see what happens. Personally, I’m using it twice a week on my indoor lettuces right now and they’re loving it 🙂
Thanks, Phil. I’m going to follow your advice and pause for a bit on the seaweed
Is the blackstrap molasses you sell, organic?
It used to be, but no, not the one I carry right now. It’s non-gmo and unsulfured but not organic.
love the product. we’ve been using it regularly since we got it. not much happened at first and then we had a rain and the flower are abundant. one question i have is the when we bought the plant i thought the flowers would be purple. they are not. they are white. is there something we can do to make them purple? i know we add a product for hydrangeas to be blue…so just wondering. thanks
I’m not sure which type of plant you’re referring to but almost all flower colors can’t be changed.
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Sea Minerals Vs Seaweed Fertilizer Vs Fish Fertilizer
Here are the main differences:
- Sea minerals fertilizer has 80+ nutrients that are immediately available to plants, and a big benefit of the product I use is that it has an organic component (dead and living) that may be just as important as the nutrients. What it doesn’t have is much N-P-K, but it’s still been proven to vastly increase yields and nutrition.
- Seaweed fertilizer has most of those nutrients, too, but much less of them and also not much N-P-K. Where it’s unique is in the plant growth hormones it contains that supercharge many plant processes. Its main benefit is boosting plant health, helping plants deal with stress from extreme heat, cold, wind, drought and disease.
- Fish fertilizer also has most of those ocean nutrients, but much less of them like seaweed, although it contains much more N and P, plus whole proteins and fats. It’s not as easily available to plants as sea minerals and doesn’t have the natural growth hormones of seaweed, but is still very useful.
So what does this mean for you? Still hard to know which to choose, right? Here’s what I can tell you:
- Seaweed is the most popular, and is often my first recommendation, although it doesn’t supply all that much nutrition on its own.
- Seaweed and fish have been applied together for a long time – they’re a winning combination.
- Of the 3, the sea minerals and fish are most similar to each other, and when you factor in the application rate, the sea minerals is a better deal and much more sustainable.
- I actually use all 3, but just less of them, so by the time I’ve gone through all 3 bottles, it doesn’t cost me too much more than if I were using just 1 of them – but doing it this way, I receive the benefits of all.
In summary, I suggest:
- Get the seaweed if you’re on a tight budget
- Get the seaweed and fish if you want tried and true
- Get the seaweed and sea minerals if you want my favorite 2
- Get all 3 and just apply less of them, to get the most benefit
“Products working out great. several days after applying EM/seaweed, one languishing pumpkin took off so quickly that in all seriousness I did a double take to make sure I got the right plant. No coincidence, never experienced this before. Seems everything is more green, and happened quickly. family noticed too!”
“I have only sprayed twice and I can see such a difference already! I just inherited an orchard with the purchase of our new home. The trees are sick and I am sure it is from the overuse of chemicals and fertilizers having been sprayed for at least a decade. I have healthy new shoots prolifically growing from very sick trees. I am so excited to see if i can turn the orchard back into a healthy place. Also, I found the information on this site very informational, and ordering process so simple (and fast!). I am so lucky that I stumbled upon this site.”
“I’ve been using the regimen of EM, kelp and sea minerals/fish on a weekly basis and I’ve never seen anything like it! A couple of the tomato plants are about 9 feet tall with virtually no yellow leaves all the way to the bottom of the plants. I even had to hammer in a 10 foot stake the other day to keep them upright!”
“My San Marzano tomatoes were suffering from blossom end rot. I read that BER is caused by uneven watering and/or calcium deficiency. I suspected that something was preventing the absorption of the calcium, or the plant was suffering because of our watering restrictions (we’re in Long Beach, California). So I put a bit of your EM in the watering can and prayed. Not kidding: every tomato that developed and ripened since the EM application showed no blossom end rot! I’m sure it was the prayer! 🙂 Thanks for all you do, Phil!”
“I found Smiling gardener about 6 or 7 years ago, when I was so discouraged with info learned in MG School. Now, everything I put on my plants, or put in ground, is a product of the ocean. The romaine lettuce in my garden is green all over. The taste is. . .better than ever. I’m so enthused about gardening now. That IS a direct result of what I’ve learned from Phil. Gardening is so much easier. I’m going out to pick 1st small batch of raspberries this year! Thank you, Phil. Still telling people all about you! I’m hoping for the best year ever! I’m also a smiling gardener.”
“After using Mycorrhizal Fungi, SCD Probiotics, liquid seaweed, and blackstrap molasses this year I am convinced I need to move to the next level of gardening. Using your products we had the earliest tomatoes and a very abundant crop. Best tomato crop in many years. The pickling cucumbers produced exceedingly well but the thing that impressed us the most was the condition of the vines. Usually after a few weeks the vines get beat up from picking and become brittle. I fertilized once a week and they were still going strong when I pulled most of them the first of Sept.
“I think it is a great thing you do, that’s why I bought the products from you. purely to support. We have great gardening supplies all over NYC. But your cost is also very affordable. You are. AWESOME!”
“Phil, your products I purchased from you are great! I used them immediately after receiving them and have seen a marked change in my plants. Thanks for checking in with me, that does mean a lot. I’ve never had anyone to do this before. Thanks again Phil, you’re a great guy!”
“Thank you for the timely delivery, the wonderful customer service, the great products AND most of all your SUPERB gardening advice and encouragement. I am a fan.”
“Wow thanks Phil. I did not expect the kind of service you are providing. I also do a lot of internet “schooling” of my customers as I am a cycling and triathlon coach. Your level of service parallels that provided by some of the best coaches I know. Thanks.”
“Everything I see from you is right on the mark in my opinion – very impressive. I would not hesitate to recommend you to anyone interested in growing more nutritive food.”
Scott L., Organic Farmer
“I was applying (once a month during March/April) a cocktail of 1/2 cup each of liquid seaweed, BioAg and Molasses with my Gilmour hose-end sprayer set on 1 tablespoon. Even though it’s still early in the season, my plants are responding very well. We haven’t seen this much healthy growth EVER in our yard.”
“I’ve been using most of the products this season and the results are like nothing I’ve ever seen, even just 6 weeks after transplanting from indoors!”
“Want to thank you for helping me improve my organic gardening skills and knowledge. I got your 15 lessons, downloaded you ebook and started using SCD Probiotics and mycorrhizal fungi. My garden has thrived this year and I love the idea of growing more nutrient dense food.”
“EM has made a huge difference in my veggie garden. Wow! I love it.”
“I gave my starving zucchini some compost tea before I went to bed last night. I woke up to find them perky and very happy looking. Amazing!”
“You are absolutely amazing! Thanks for sharing your wealth of information and research. I really enjoy your videos and now consider you my #1 source. I am just ‘figuring’ this all out and have made my share of mistakes along the way but I feel like I have a clear road map now for the basic organic fertilizers, etc. My order arrived promptly so I would order again from your site. Again, I really enjoy your educational style and depth of knowledge!”
“The endomycorrhizal fungi that Janice and I got from you last month has been incredibly effective. I’m particularly surprised by how quickly roses react to it. After inoculation, the roses I treated dropped all their diseased leaves and flushed out in new healthy growth. I’ve treated my own plants and several client ‘rose gardens’ now with the same encouraging results.”
“We have been using your products since the beginning of the summer and we are having good results. Thanks so much.”
“I received my order and was quite impressed by the quality of product and service. It is apparent to me that this gardeners pantry is about more than profits; a rarity in our world today. I’m sure I will be doing business with you once again.”
“I’d bought some sickly looking plants on sale with yellowish leaves & within 2 days of using the EM the leaves turned a much healthier shade of green. Inside of a week they were back to 100% healthy. I can’t say enough good things about EM.”
“Well it’s 2:00pm Aug 30 and I got my order. That’s less than 24hr service — great. Will keep you in mind for additional items.”
“This year my tomatoes have seemed to be ‘stalled’ in growing, and I planted very late which was already trouble in the brewing. I transplanted them to a more sunny area and applied your ocean fertilizer, which has them looking alive and they have grown about 3-4″ already having applied the liquid seaweed a day after delivery. Thank you for the product. I may have tomatoes in September, thanks to Sea Crop and the fish fertilizer.”
“I am on a two-week spray schedule, alternating each time between Liquid Fish and Sea Minerals – the base spray is 2 Tbsp Molasses, 2 Tbsp Bio Ag, and 2 Tbsp Liquid Seaweed, in 2 Gallons Water. I have also been doing a monthly soil drench with Compost Tea. This is in addition to the plants being mulched with homemade compost. The growth and health of the vegetable plants is nothing short of amazing! And, for the first time, the squash plants have not developed powdery mildew as they normally due during the humid summer days.”
“I did receive your products and will be using them in a few weeks to start seeds. Meanwhile. I put some Seaweed, Humic, Molasses and EM in with the watering of my house plants, WOW!! What a difference!”
“I want to praise Phil for following up on my recent order, which hadn’t arrived yet when he sent me an email. He found the delay at UPS, re-sent the order with expedited shipping, and added a free gift, when the delay wasn’t his fault in the first place. I will always buy my garden and orchard supplies from Smiling Gardener in the future. THANKS, Phil!”
“We started mulching Oct 2009 on soil that was about 80% sand. The increase in growth and biodiversity have been incredible. Our only additions to the mulch have been seaweed (yearly), EM solution (1st spring) and endomycorrhizae (to individual plants).”
“”The smiling gardener is the Premier outstanding resource for high quality products at a great price. The best I have found so far. The clear information provided in the videos and on the website are a tremendous resource for our gardens well being. Thank you Phil for providing such a premium product resource and information, which when applied has the potential to restore the earth and humanity to our original pristine paradise. And thank you everyone here that uses these products, tools and methods of caring so much about the future of our Mother Earth. May the great gods of the goodies and gardens smile upon you, for the extreme dedication and devotion to our soil, plant, and animal friends. It’s a 10 star out of 5 rating”
“Thank you for this GREAT info packed website! I bought the Beginners Kit and my patio garden is SO happy!! I harvested lettuce, two kinds of kale, and cilantro after planting them 18 days ago. Best salad ever. I look forward to seeing how the rest of this year works out in my patio garden!! The first two years the yield was inconsistent, lots of pests, and I lost interest after two months. Lots of money, effort, and hopes down the drain. Not this year! Plants are growing right before my eyes it seems so I’m taking photos once a week to compare results.”
“THANK YOU for the unbelievably effective products you offer. Finding your website has been the best thing I’ve ever done to finally get rid of nasty gnat and variety of pest infestations and to finally grow a healthy amazing garden. Over the past 10 years, I had tried every product you can imagine to battle against gnats and variety of pests but nothing worked more than a day. With one week of using your few products, Bio Ag, seaweed etc. they’ve vanished and I have the most beautiful garden in the Neighborhood. I’ve already learned so much about organic gardening and look forward to continuing with studies in your academy. It’s worth every penny. You are a miracle. Thank you for what you are doing to save our beautiful planet.”
“I thought I would give you some feedback on what I’ve seen in only about 2 weeks:
* Holly Hedge. The aphid or white flies that have been weakening and killing my steeds holly hedge for a couple of years almost completely disappeared after just 1 foliar spraying (w/the seaweed, probiotics and molasses). After a second spraying a week later – they are nowhere to be found. I also did a soil drench of the fungi. This hedge is now bursting with new growth.
* Arborvitaes. I did the same foliar spray for my 12’ arborvitae hedge in my yard (probiotics, seaweed and molasses) and they are also doing very well. This is the hedge that I nearly killed with too much fertilizer. This hedge was also filled with aphids/white flies too. The aphids are gone and I am expecting these arborvitaes to be on a road to recovery (I’ll never use plant-tone again).
* Grass. The established grass and the newly planted grass at the graveyard have grown by leaps and bounds – it’s really unbelievable. I used the fungi, molasses, probiotics and seaweed and in less than a week everything was sprouting and growing like crazy.”
“For anyone trying to decide on whether all these products have a benefit, I assure you they deliver more than you can believe. I’m from the Beaverton, Oregon area with a traditional collection of Northwest plants. Hemlocks, firs, vine maple, blueberries, huckleberries and rhododendrons would make up the backbone of my garden. Each shrub gets an annual dose of rock dust or Azomite and a monthly spray of a mixture of sea minerals, seaweed, BioAg and molasses. I’m not sure if I’m doing things correctly but don’t tell my plants. They look spectacular! The hardest part of going organic and following Phil’s approach is getting started. Once you do you won’t go back.”
“I was really impressed with the level and depth of information on your site. I’ve been equally impressed by the entire retail end of your operation. I just received my shipment of EM and mycorrhizal inoculant and am looking forward to putting some of your expansive research to good use. I really appreciate your attention to detail, all the info you provided about using the products, and your overall friendly manner. Thanks for all your hard work.”
“The amount of info on your website is astounding. I am learning so much. I started using your bio-ag, liquid fertilizer and micorrhizal fungi last year and I’ve been very pleased with the results. I had almost completely given up on organic gardening, but the information and product recommendations I’ve gotten from your sight are helping me to have more successful results than I’ve had over the last 5 years since I began attempting all organic gardening.”